Easterseals released its Easterseals Study on the Impact of COVID-19 on People with Disabilities. Conducted by Accenture, the report provides data on how deeply the pandemic has affected people with disabilities.

With these findings as a guide, the organization plans to launch a nationwide effort to modify, expand and amplify its services to respond to the urgent and evolving needs of the populations it serves.

“Before COVID-19, people with disabilities were already at a disadvantage. It is no surprise, 2020 was a difficult year for virtually every American. But for the 61 million people living with disabilities in our country, there is no doubt that they have been hit disproportionately hard by the crisis.

“For most in the disability community, the barriers to recovery are more complex and, if not properly addressed, will have immediate and long-term consequences on their quality of life and well-being, not to mention a negative impact on society at large.”

— Angela F. Williams, President and CEO of Easterseals

Key Findings

Study topline results and key findings reinforce current insights on access, inclusion, and equity in healthcare, employment, and education for children and adults with disabilities including veterans and seniors, as well as their families and caregivers.

Grounded in this current data, the Study allows for Easterseals to respond with informed solutions, providing the organization with qualitative and quantitative research to galvanize national, state and local government officials, as well as corporate leaders and individual donors, to partner with Easterseals to change the landscape for people with disabilities and ensure greater equity and inclusion for them in the post-pandemic world, a media release from Easterseals explains.

A Path Forward

“It is essential, especially at this critical point in our nation’s recovery, that people with disabilities are given every opportunity to successfully rebound, rebuild and fully participate in their communities. The Study informs Easterseals’ response and path forward to make sure every one of us is included and deeply valued in our communities.”

— Angela F. Williams

Made possible through support from a gift to Easterseals by philanthropist MacKenzie Scott in late 2020, the study confirms Ms. Scott’s belief that certain marginalized communities, including people with disabilities, would bear the brunt of the pandemic and would disproportionately experience negative effects across all aspects of their lives but particularly around healthcare equity, education, employment, and financial stability.

Easterseals commissioned Accenture, a global professional services company, to conduct in-depth interviews, fielded online from January 18 to April 9, 2021, among a cross section of nearly 1,000 individuals within the Easterseals Network. This included volunteer and staff leadership from its 67 Affiliates nationwide as well as individuals with disabilities throughout the lifespan (including people of color with disabilities), their parents, and their caregivers. Secondary data reflecting how COVID-19 has exacerbated challenges for people with disabilities is also included in the study, the release continues.

[Source(s): Easterseals, PR Newswire]